Use These Positive Parenting Phrases to Avoid Conflict With Your Kids

Use These Positive Parenting Phrases to Avoid Conflict With Your Kids
Photo: Sorapop Udomsri, Shutterstock

We talked earlier this week about how to be a more gentle parent, which sounds sweet and lovely but can be hard to pull off when you’re feeling frazzled after a long day with whiny children. As with attempt to shift our behaviour, if we can create new routines or habits, it can help us go on autopilot in those trying moments — and one mum on TikTok is teaching us how to do that, one short video at a time.

A member of our Offspring Facebook community introduced me to Destini Ann’s series of positive parenting videos, and I’ve been watching one after another, soaking up her wisdom and overall positive energy. But in particular, I liked four “episodes” she made to highlight easy phrases or mantras we can use with our kids to set boundaries and get their compliance while also empathizing with their feelings.

“Every feeling is acceptable; every behaviour is not.”

In this video, Destini Ann reminds us that our kids are allowed to get mad. And they can get mad at us (after all, we get mad at them). They can feel however they feel — but that doesn’t mean they can throw toys or use disrespectful words. You can validate their feelings and teach them that their behaviour is not ok.

“Respect my ‘no’”

Destini Ann talks in this episode about how she doesn’t have a lot of arbitrary rules in her house, but she does have three non-negotiable areas: kindness, safety, and hygiene. And when one of her kids pushes back on one of those three, she models how she empathizes with their feelings while also saying this is a moment when they need to “respect her ‘no.’”

“Is this a trade-off?”

In this video, she talks about how when we say “yes” to something, we’re often saying “no” to something else. If they want to go to the playground, for example, that might mean less time to play together at home before dinner. So when we know that a yes now is going to result in a no later, we can ask our kids if they want to “trade” those things off, teaching them how to take ownership of budgeting their time. Like so:

“Are you open?”

I especially love this one because it’s a tactic that would serve a lot of adults well when dealing with friends and family in addition to their kids. When your child is telling you about a tough moment at school or venting about a situation with a friend, ask them, “Are you open?” — meaning, are you open to my opinion, my feedback, or my advice?

This does two things, Destini Ann says. First, it prompts them to be more receptive to your thoughts, because you’ve shown them respect by asking if they even want to hear them in the first place. And second, it gives them a chance to say no, because this may be more of a moment in which they simply need to vent to someone.

If we start mindfully incorporating positive phrases like these into our everyday interactions with our kids, it can help deescalate recurring conflicts or help us avoid them entirely.

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